Some landlords and residents on the Magodo GRA Phase II Estate, Ikosi, Ketu, Lagos State, have accused policemen attached to the Zone 2 Police Command, Onikan, of accompanying suspected land grabbers to excavate a wetland.
gathered that during the invasion, the policemen and the land grabbers, who were reportedly sponsored by members of a Lagos family, stormed the estate with bulldozers to excavate the wetland, which affected the foundation of many buildings on the estate.
During a visit to the estate, our correspondent observed that the fences of some buildings had collapsed, while the foundation of other buildings had sunk due to the continued exercise.
A landlord, Bolaji Omotoso, whose house is on the brink of collapsing, said complaints to the state government on the matter had gone unheeded.
He said, “The activities of the land grabbers clearing the wetland beside my house had been going on unabated despite complaints by me and the association to the state government. They said they would do something, but we realised that the activities continued. The excavators have cleared the base which holds the fence of my building, so the fence collapsed. The house is now affected. It is sad.”
An 82-year-old landlord, Mrs Reginald Pitan, said, “This is corruption. If I had the power, I would tell everybody involved that they are corrupt. The government should not turn us into hoodlums to fight for ourselves.”
A resident, Pastor Bisi Olowoyo, lamented the environmental impact of the excavation of the wetland, which he said was intended for the development of a housing project.
“These land grabbers act with impunity. If there must be another house scheme here, at least, there should be proper studies and environmental impact assessment tests,” he added.
Addressing journalists on Wednesday, the Chairman, Magodo Residents’ Association, Bajo Osinubi, lamented the continued excavation that had weakened many buildings on the estate.
He said, “Policemen are attached to these land grabbers and they come from Zone 2 Police Command supported by their AIG. They arrest me every time I confront them for destroying our buildings and the wetland.
“The land grabbers want to construct roads on the wetland and destroy our property and natural embankment. When we talk to the government, they will say they are doing something about it, but we have not seen anything being done. Imagine if rain falls and destroys our houses.
“If the government wants to develop an estate, they should take ownership and develop it properly. They should not put it in the hands of land speculators who will only sell it. The land is a government reserved area; they should not let illegal occupants claim it.”
The state Commissioner for Physical Planning and Urban Development, Dr Idris Salako, had during a recent visit issued a stop-work order on those working on the wetland and advised residents whose buildings were affected by the excavation to vacate them for proper engineering tests.
Salako, in a statement issued after his visit, slammed sponsors of the land grabbers.
“It is unimaginable that any family in Lagos State, noted for its unrivalled sense of accommodation and conviviality, will go to this length to inflict pain on others, despite reassurances by the government,” he added.
The spokesperson for the Zone 2 Police Command, SP Hauwa Idris-Adamu, said she was not aware that policemen from the command escorted land grabbers to operate on the wetland.
She said, “I am not aware of that. I have to find out. There are many cases of similar issues relating to excavation.”